Machine Head

support N/A
author MAK date 11/03/16 venue Apollo, London, UK

It isn't common in the UK for any genre outside of pop music for a band to play a show without any support acts. Well, metal favourites Machine Head have decided to break that normality and play by their own rules. We bring you "An Evening With Machine Head", A night for the Californians to have a long enough set to showcase some rarities and more of their longer, epic masterpieces for their real diehard fans.

Machine Head

The Eventim Apollo was packed and excited, chants of "MACHINE FUCKING HEAD" rang around the venue several times before the band even hit the stage. It was then the signature use of Ozzy Osbourne's "Diary Of A Madman" that Machine Head usually come on to that triggered a huge roar in the crowd. A sample of a man doing what sounds like a great Tarzan impression over the PA caused more excitement as it revealed that Machine Head were opening with "Clenching The Fists Of Dissent", a ten-minute thrash monster of a song that the quartet haven't performed in London for over six years. Barely seconds into the opening barrage of riffs, the circle pits were as crazy as you would expect. Robb Flynn's huge shout of "WAAAAARRR" just gave you goosebumps, then to watch as him and fellow guitarist Phil Demmel's technical capability in the solos was mesmerising.

Machine Head followed that with "Beautiful Mourning", another fan favourite from "The Blackening". Robb Flynn ordered the first wave of fist pumps and "HEY" chants for the crowd to follow along with Dave Mcclain's bass drum kicks, this was the first of countless fist pumps of the evening, Just listening to the crowd sing along was incredible, from the first moment of everyone shouting "FUCK YOU ALL", to the beautiful bridge segment "This lifetime in sorrow, God let the angels die". We were then treated to "Now We Die", the first of several tracks from Machine Head's most recent album "Bloodstone & Diamonds". The anthemic headbanger continued to cause yet more carnage in the pits and more singalongs. Machine Head took us back to 1997 with "Take My Scars" as a reminder that it wasn't always epic thrash masterpieces, but early Machine Head was more groove metal and bouncy riffs. The crowd reacted to this by bouncing up and down to those grooves.

The four-piece rotated through old and new songs superbly, showcasing 22 years of the band's history and the various styles of metal they have dabbled with in that time. Machine Head unleashed metal anthem, "Locust" before breaking off into their rap-metal hit "From This Day". Say what you want about Machine Head's nu-metal phase, the crowd loved it and fellow rap-metal track "Desire To Fire", that was the first time Machine Head had played the song live since 2002. More crowd favourites like "Ten Ton Hammer", "This Is The End" and "The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears" had the crowd eating out of Robb Flynn's hands. The crowd reacted exactly how he wanted them to, either with more fist pumps, clap alongs or just unleashing energy in the pits. It was great to witness.

Having the extra time to perform meant that Phil Demmel was allowed to show off a little with a solo and the guitarist produced all sorts of whines and fiddly melodies that wowed the crowd. That was followed by the first real crowd interaction from Machine Head, over half way into the set. Robb Flynn came out to explain the trials the band faced in trying to set up the tour, that people shot down the idea of just Machine Head playing with no support, and that it wouldn't work. Judging from the crowd's reaction to this remark, those people were wrong. Flynn went on to praise the real diehard fans for their support on the night before breaking into a real metal ballad in "Darkness Within". The acoustic start lead into epic metal melodies and the crowd sang along beautifully to the cleans in the chorus, but the real highlight was the post-song "whoah" chants that repeatedly echoed around the venue for a few minutes. Dave Mcclain then had the opportunity to showcase his phenomenal drum talent in a five-minute solo. The drummer flaunted some of the most incredible fast and technical beats you'll ever hear.

After the solo, Mcclain launched into yet another incredible drum roll that led into pure pit starter "Bulldozer". Which was then followed by the anthemic "Killers and Kings" before Machine Head broke into their most known hit "Davidian". The iconic words "LET FREEDOM RING WITH A SHOTGUN BLAST" sung by over 3000 people made hairs stand on end. The four men left the stage again to make way for their first encore. What was a massive surprise was the intro to "A Farewell To Arms" teasingly performed offstage before Robb Flynn and co. came back out to perform yet another ten-minute epic masterpiece laced with phenomenal solos, huge riffs, insane melodies and the biggest atmosphere. It was a real treat for the fans to see this performed live. "Now I Lay Thee Down" followed it as another track that has rarely been performed in the last 6 or so years, even though it was a single from "The Blackening". Machine Head then broke into another one of their more popular tracks, "Imperium", in which Robb Flynn demanded the London crowd to open the tours biggest circle pit.

Encore two kicked off with another crowd favourite "Aesthetics Of Hate", which contained the incredibly angry lyrics aimed at the journalist who slammed legendary Pantera guitarist Dimebag. The popular track was followed by possibly the catchiest song in Machine Head's catalogue, "Game Over", The vocal melody in the song is so hooking it deserves far more praise than it receives, plus the riffs were to die for yet again. Another rare track "Blood By Blood" was unleashed upon the crowd, possibly the rarest of them all as it had the weakest reaction of the night though 21 songs later it wasn't surprising that the audience was hit with fatigue. It could have been that everyone was saving their energy for the epic finale that was "Halo". The reaction the crowd gave to this song was mindblowing, everyone from the balcony stood up out of their seats. It was like everyone gave Machine Head a standing ovation and clapped along to a national anthem. The atmosphere was electrifying, and it intensified as the opening words "This is a call to arms, Will you stand beside me?" signified a sense of unity in both the lyrics and absolutely everyone singing along. Of course, the most captivating moment was the intricate guitar duet segment between Flynn and Demmel. The back and forth solos remained as fascinating as the first time you saw them either live or on a video clip. I have used the word epic many times in this review, but it's the one word to truly sum up the gig, from the opening until the very end. It was a perfect evening for any Machine Head fan.

9

Setlist

  • 1. Clenching The Fists Of Dissent
  • 2. Beautiful Mourning
  • 3. Now We Die
  • 4. Take My Scars
  • 5. Locust
  • 6. From This Day
  • 7. Ten Ton Hammer
  • 8. This Is The End
  • 9. Desire To Fire
  • 10. The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears
  • 11. Crashing Around You (followed by Phil Demmel guitar solo)
  • 12. Darkness Within (followed by Dave Mcclain drum solo)
  • 13. Bulldozer
  • 14. Killers & Kings
  • 15. Davidian

- Encore 1

  • 16. A Farewell To Arms
  • 17. Now I Lay The Down
  • 18. Imperium

- Encore 2

  • 19. Aesthetics Of Hate
  • 20. Game Over
  • 21. Blood For Blood

- Encore 3

  • 22. Halo

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